Voters in Birmingham overwhelmingly approved a tax increase yesterday that will go toward Birmingham’s City Schools.
According to Birmingham Board of Education President Randall Woodfin, the extra tax will cost the average homeowner an additional $1.83 a month.
Money from the tax increase will be used to put a preschool classroom in every Birmingham city elementary school. Some schools that already have preschool programs are expected to expand them. The money will also go toward funding music and other fine arts programs as well as foreign language education.
Six schools, including four from Mobile County, have been recognized in Montgomery for having high-achieving students that come mostly from low-income homes.
The governor and state education officials held a ceremony Wednesday to honor six Alabama Torchbearer schools selected by the state Department of Education. The schools have at least 80 percent of their students receiving free or reduced-price lunches and score among the top 20 percent in state educational assessments.
Several Alabama school systems will be offering breakfast and lunch free to all students when classes resume in August.
The state Department of Education says school systems qualifying for the free meals under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act have poverty levels that are 40 percent and higher.
Systems that have all or nearly all of their schools participating in the program are Montgomery County, Barbour County, Clarke County, Lowndes County, Wilcox County, Selma, Tarrant, Midfield, Chickasaw, Albertville, Dallas County, Macon County, Linden, Bessemer and Anniston.
The Alabama Department of Education has announced the new list of failing public schools, where students can transfer to other non-failing public schools or to private schools.
The department says five schools were added to the new list. They are Barbour County Intermediate School, Lafayette High School, Abbeville High School, Jeremiah A. Denton Middle School in Mobile County, and Bessemer High School.
Six Montgomery Public Schools educators accused of participating in a district-wide grade changing scheme are facing state trials.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports the district's former assistant superintendent, two principals, an assistant principal and two teachers are expected to appear before an administrative law judge in December.
The newspaper reports the educators could lose their teaching certificates.
More than two dozen Alabama legislators have taken state officials up on an invitation to visit schools in their districts and talk with students, teachers and school administrators.
Legislators said they were impressed with the teachers and students they met during the visits Tuesday. But several legislators said they were disappointed to find overcrowded classrooms and not enough money for supplies.
Republican Rep. Greg Wren of Montgomery says he's disappointed teachers have to spend so much time filling out paperwork when they could be teaching students.
The state Department of Education is planning to unveil its new way to address barriers to learning and teaching and to re-engage disconnected students.
Department officials will join other educators Friday in Montgomery to present the Comprehensive System of Learning Supports design documents.
The director of the department's Office of Learning Support, Linda Felton-Smith, says the design moves student supports away from reacting to problems and moves them toward a system emphasizing prevention and early intervention.
Advocates for the disabled say they're concerned about the future of special education programs since state officials plan to inspect them less often.
The Anniston Star (http://bit.ly/13QW7Qp ) reported Sunday that the state Department of Education will transition from inspecting the programs once every three years to once every four years beginning this school year.
Alabama education officials say more than a third of college freshman from the state needed remedial coursework last fall.
Deputy Superintendent of Education, Sherrill Parris, says the amount of students who graduated high school and needed remedial coursework factored into Plan 2020 — a statewide initiative to improve education over the next seven years.
Parris and executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Gregory Fitch, say standards requiring students to enroll in remedial courses varies between the state's public colleges and universities.
A three-member investigative team appointed by the state Department of Education is looking into allegations of mass grade changes at three public high schools in Montgomery. School Superintendent Barbara Thompson sought the department's help earlier this month after the Montgomery Advertiser reported that teachers who worked in Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis and Sidney Lanier high schools said they witnessed or participated in the improper changing of hundreds of grades.
A lawsuit has been filed accusing the Alabama Department of Education of refusing to release school data showing the impact of Alabama's law cracking down on illegal immigrants has had on Hispanic students. The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery filed the lawsuit, which contends education officials have declined to release data on student enrollment before and after the immigration law was enacted. The lawsuit says the SPLC has requested a copy of information that education officials have sent to the U.S. Justice Department.
State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice says his department will investigate allegations of widespread grade changing in the Montgomery County public school system. Bice said on Friday that Montgomery Superintendent Barbara Thompson sought the department's help, and the investigation is beginning immediately. Teachers who worked in Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis and Sidney Lanier high schools in Montgomery said they witnessed or participated in the improper changing of hundreds of grades. Nearly 30 current and former employees were interviewed. The majority worked at Lee.